New Balance has already carved a niche for itself in the sportswear and footwear market. Recently, the company has been making attempts to make forays into the wearable gadgets segment with the launch of its Android powered smartwatch. The launch of PaceIQ earphones is clearly the next logical step for the company.
Designed exclusively for intense workouts, these earphones feature a snug over-the-ear hook design. But does the PaceIQ have enough going for it to stand out in a crowded marketplace? This New Balance PaceIQ review would answer that all important question.
While there is no doubt that the New Balance PaceIQ is geared towards customers looking for affordable earphones, the overall design nevertheless leaves us rather underwhelmed. In fact, it would be no exaggeration to claim that even budget models these days feature far more snazzier designs. For example, the exposed inner wire and absence of soft padding for ear hooks is clearly disappointing.
On the more positive side, it is clear that these earphones are built and designed to last. In particular, the ear hooks are deceptively strong and flexible. Despite numerous attempts at stretching and pulling them on all sides with considerable force made no difference, and the hook retained their original shape.
Yet another incidental benefit of this basic stripped down design is the lightweight feel of the earphone. The last thing you want during an intense workout is feeling the earphones tugging at your ears. This can be extremely annoying, and, thankfully, with PaceIQ you do not have to endure this experience. At less than 22 grams, these lightweight earphones offer no resistance and stay in your ear longer during those high energy workouts.
Among other useful features, the earphones are IP54 rated. In plain words, this means that these earphones are resistant to water, sweat, and dust. So you can stop worrying about your earphones getting damaged during a run through the rain. The left ear phone sports a handy key for prompts if you have a RunIQ smartwatch from New Balance. Also concealed under a rubber flap is the micro-USB port.
Most of the sports performance earphones in the market nowadays offer close to 10 hours of run time on a single charge. Unfortunately, during out tests, PaceIQ could not go beyond 5 hours of play time. While 5 hours is sufficient to cover the longest training time for most of us, it is still disappointing to know that we cannot go further than that.
On a happy note, however, we must say that New Balance PaceIQ excelled when it came to charging time. A fifteen minute charging burst is sufficient to offer an hour long play time.
Similarly, the earphone is a pleasant surprise in the stability of its Bluetooth connection. You can confidently undergo the most strenuous of activities and be sure that the connection between your earphone and the paired device stays firm. PaceIQ makes use of a nifty technology that allows it to stay connected to two devices at once. So you can listen to music through your smart phone and at the same time have prompts delivered from the smartwatch.
The sound is where this earphone truly excels. At its price range, the New Balance PaceIQ has to be one of the best sounding earphones, especially with the thrumming bass. The sound is loud, clear, and balanced. While some might complain that the earphone lacks an app to adjust and equalize, we found that the default mode was sufficient in terms of quality.
So What’s the Verdict?
The New Balance PaceIQ is clearly not a flawless product. In particular, its stripped down skeletal design and below par battery life leave a lot to be desired. However, it is also true that at its price point a product would have to make multiple compromises and PaceIQ does it well. Despite an underwhelming battery life, it is long enough to cover the longest training times. On the other hand it offers some solid advantages in terms of durability, functionality and sound quality.